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Be The Change Herald


Volume 36 – August 25, 2011


Welcome to Anousheh's Be The Change Herald! Feel free to forward to others who might want to register for the newsletter and you can unsubscribe at any time.


Water, Far Far Away

Two teams of astronomers have discovered the largest and farthest reservoir of water ever detected in the universe. The water, equivalent to 140 trillion times all the water in the world's ocean, surrounds a huge, feeding black hole, called a quasar, more than 12 billion light-years away.

"The environment around this quasar is very unique in that it's producing this huge mass of water," said Matt Bradford, a scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "it's another demonstration that water is pervasive throughout the universe, even at the very earliest times."

Astronomers expected water vapor to be present even in the early, distant universe, but had not detected it this far away before. There's water vapor in the Milky Way, although the total amount is 4,000 times less than in the quasar, because most of the Milky Way's water is frozen in ice.

To read the complete article and learn more, please visit:

To see an artist's concept of a similar quasar and a brief description, please visit:

Higgs Hunters!

Following the trend in some of the previous newsletters, there is one more project seeking citizen researchers.  This time the goal is to find the Higgs boson, the hypothetical massive elementary particle predicted to exist .  Its Existence explains inconsistencies in theoretical physics and using the LHC (Large Hadron Collider), scientists at CERN have been trying to find the elusive particle.

Now CERN is using amateur enthusiasts to simulate particle collisions on home computers with LHC@home 2.0. This endeavor not only would help in finding the Higgs Boson, but also in simulating how the universe came to be.

To read more and to see the project, please visit:

Photons at Speed of Light

A group of physicists at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) have proved that single photons cannot travel faster than the speed of light in vacuum. HKUST's study reaffirms Einstein's theory that nothing travels faster than light and closes a decade-long debate about the speed of a single photon.

This study demonstrates that a single photon, the fundamental quanta of light, also obeys the traffic law of the universe just like classical EM waves. Einstein had claimed that the speed of light was the traffic law of the universe or in simple language, nothing can travel faster than light. The finding which has confirmed a key feature of a fundamental law of physics also has important implications for communication technology.

To learn more pleae visit:

What If Competition Update 

As you may already know, the competition has been extended. The new deadline for registration is September 30, 2011 and the deadline for submitting entries is December 20, 2011. As schools are opening, this is a great opportunity to team up and enter the competition.

To learn more about the rules and schedule of the competition please visit our brand new website at: http://www.whatifprize.org .

What If Prize for Space Educators

What If Prize for space Educators coming soon:

Do you teach about space or space-related topics? Take this opportunity to be recognized for your hard work, and to share the space lessons that you have developed or adapted with teachers from all around the world!

The What If Prize, Teachers Without Borders, and MIT BLOSSOMS are pleased to announce a new space lesson plan competition for educators of grade 6-12! This competition will be open to individuals in the United States and Canada who have written or adapted lesson plans that cover space science or space technology topics. The purpose of the competition is to recognize excellence and creativity in space science education and to produce useful, peer-reviewed and freely available space science instructional materials for educators worldwide.

The submission period will open in the summer of 2011, with winners announced in early 2012. The competition awards may be applied toward the costs of a STEM-discipline experience of the winner's choosing. There will be three prizes of $2,000 each for the top lessons covering grades 6-8, 9-10, and 11-12 to be used toward a learning experience for the winner.  Example uses of the prize awards include (but are not limited to):

  • attending a National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) National or Regional Conference,
  • Flight simulator lessons at the Space Academy for Educators at the US Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Al,


  • Any other high quality, STEM-related teacher training workshop proposed by the prize winner and approved by what If Prize and Teachers Without Borders

For more details about the competition, watch the following websites or continue to monitor Anousheh's Be the Change newsletter.


if you have any questions, please contact Zach Adam at  zachary.adam@msu.montana.edu

My Dream of Stars

My Dream of Stars: From Daughter of Iran to Space Pioneer: a book by Anousheh Ansari and Homer Hickam.

In her memoir, Anousheh recalls her long path to success and to achieving her dream.  To learn more about the book, please visit:  http://www.anoushehansari.com/book/

To find a book signing, please check the upcoming appearances section of this newsletter.

To obtain a copy please visit:



Anousheh's Favorite Quote:

"If you want to build a ship, don't drum up people together to collect wood and don't assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea."

-Antoine de Saint-Exupery